Say goodnight to sleepless nights with these simple tips
Sleep, exercise and food make up the three pillars of a healthy life. A good night’s sleep delivers an abundance of positive energy and allows us to focus and be more resilient against everyday stressors. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, makes us irritable, more distractible and even affects our appetite. Sadly one third of all adults struggle with chronic sleep challenges.
Tired of watching the hours tick away when everyone else is sleeping? If you struggle with sleep regularly, it might be time to seek professional help with an accredited sleep doctor. If sleeplessness is an occasional problem, try these game changers for a healthier, more rested you.
Setting the stage for better mornings…
- Set the rules of engagement – Reboot your bedtime routine and reserve your bedroom for non-electronic activities. That means no TV, phones or laptops allowed. Why? Their bright lights act like a rooster to your brain and wake it up just when you should be getting sleepy. “The small amounts of light from these devices pass through the retina into a part of the hypothalamus (the area of the brain that controls several sleep activities) and delay the release of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin,” reports Heather Hatfield on WebMD.
- Prepare for sleep – Remember when your mom read you bedtime stories? Grab a glass of warm milk or tea, take a bath or snuggle with your kids or partner and talk about the day. Sleep and repeat tomorrow. Your brain will learn your time-to-sleep cues quickly.
- Say no to nightcaps – A drink with dinner may help you uncoil from the day’s stress but it won’t help you sleep better. “Drinking [alcohol] has long been known to reduce REM sleep, the deepest sleep stage in which most dreams occur and during which memories are likely stored and learning occurs,” reports Maia Szalavitz on TimeHealth.
- Do it naturally – Medication may help you fall asleep but the hangover in the morning isn’t worth it. And remember, over-the-counter medication or herbal supplements such as melatonin or valerian, understand that you’re buying an unregulated product. “People who take certain prescription sleeping pills even once in a while may be up to five times more susceptible to early death, a U.S. study suggests”, according to CBC News.
- Exercise earlier in the day – Strenuous exercise 3 hours before bed can make it hard for your body to relax into sleep – remember, falling asleep is a process. Working out is important and can help make sure you’re tired enough for a night of sleep but do it earlier in the day.
- Break the rules sometimes – Watching The Mentalist before bed may be a bad idea for some people, but maybe watching TV helps you flush the garbage floating around in your head. Listen to the rules and then bend them so they work for you. Unless you’re trying to get your worst night’s sleep.
- Look at your bed – Connect the dots from your mattress to your health. You know a lumpy mattress can cause back pain but a sagging mattress that’s lost its ability to support you properly can do just as much damage. “Similar to your favorite old chair or worn pair of shoes, your mattress can still feel somewhat comfortable long after it has lost its ability to provide your body with the proper support and comfort it needs,” advises the Better Sleep Council. “In general, a mattress set that has been in use for seven years is no longer providing you with the best comfort and support and should be replaced.”